Devotion - Someday I will be Queen, but I will always be myself.Garnet's quote
Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, alias Dagger and birth name Sarah, is the deuteragonist of Final Fantasy IX, and the heir of Alexandria in the 17th generation. Garnet notices a change in her mother, Queen Brahne, and seeks to escape Alexandria Castle.
Hiding her identity while traveling with Zidane, Garnet takes the alias Dagger, inspired by Zidane's weapon. Initially polite and soft-spoken, and naive to the world outside her castle, Garnet loosens up during her travels, and becomes more streetwise. She resolves to use her powers as a summoner to protect her kingdom, and becomes more assertive and less dependent on others for help.
In battle, Dagger can use several Wht Mag spells and summon several eidolons into battle. Her Trance changes the Summon command to Eidolon, which causes the eidolons she last summoned to deal more damage, and sometimes reappear in battle at random intervals. She wields rods and rackets in battle. While both Dagger and Eiko can use Wht Mag and summon eidolons, Eiko has more powerful curative Wht Mag spells, while Dagger can summon more powerful offensive eidolons.
Garnet has long, black hair in a low ponytail with a blue clip. After she cuts her hair using Zidane's dagger, it becomes chin-length. She has brown eyes (though in the FMV where Eiko jumps from the Hilda Garde II to join Garnet, Garnet's eyes are blue perhaps due to the lighting emitted by their pendants) and fair skin. Garnet's casual attire is a white bell-sleeved blouse under a skin-tight, sleeveless orange jumpsuit with corset lacing in the front and back and large white buckles on the thighs. She wears a pair of red leather gloves and red ankle boots, and a black choker and a large crystal suspended from a long silver pendant.
When escaping Alexandria Castle Garnet wears a short white cloak identical to the iconic White Mage robe, with a large hood, red triangles along the hood and waist, and red cuffs. Her formal attire is a long white strapless gown decorated with green leaves from chest to waist. She wears a gold hair ornament, detached sleeves, a silver crown embedded with green jewels, and a green jeweled necklace.
When Garnet enters Trance, her hair turns blonde, her skin turns pink with white glyphs along her legs, and her outfit transforms into a white leotard with a low neckline and light green sleeves.
Mother... Zidane... No... I can't depend on them anymore! As the queen of Alexandria, I must protect my kingdom.Garnet
She starts as self-deprecating and blames herself for events beyond her control, relying on others, but she wants the power to summon eidolons so she can better defend her kingdom and her companions. Through Zidane's influence, Garnet learns to act in a more commonplace way, and endeavors to "blend in". She changes her speech patterns from overly formal to more casual, and as Zidane teaches her more about the outside world, she falls in love with him.
Garnet can be naive due to her sheltered childhood, for example, she is shocked at some of the more unwholesome sights at Treno. Garnet is quick-thinking and finds ways to outwit others to pursue her goals, and eventually matures into a more assertive individual who realizes that past does not need to constrain how she lives her life in the present.
I survived the storm. I wonder if you two are okay? I see the two of you smile every time I close my eyes. I imagine I see you when I open my eyes. I have a mortal wound. I won't be able to wait for you very long. I regret being so unemotional all these years. I'm writing down everything here in the hope that you'll read it someday. To my dearest wife, Jane, Although we fought many times, and I may not have shown my affection enough, I love you very much. To my beloved daughter, Sarah, My life changed when you were born. You made me happy. These are the things I want you to know.Message from Garnet's father on the Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari
Garnet was called Sarah while she lived in Madain Sari as part of a summoner tribe. Like all summoners, she had a horn on her forehead. When Garnet was six she and her mother, Jane, escaped by boat when the Invincible attacked the town, but her mother was killed.
Garnet washed ashore in Alexandria where she was discovered by the king. She looked almost identical to Princess Garnet who had died not long before from illness, with the exception of the horn. The king ordered the horn removed and that she become a replacement princess. Garnet was raised as the princess of Alexandria, having lost all memories of her early years. She was told she had always lived in Alexandria Castle and, believing it, thought Queen Brahne was her mother.
When she was seven years old, Doctor Tot became her tutor. Garnet took to literature, Lord Avon's I Want to be Your Canary being her favorite. When she was ten, Garnet met Cid Fabool IX, the regent of Lindblum, at the king's funeral.
When Garnet was 15 years old, she began to worry over a change in Queen Brahne and Tot stopped tutoring her. Garnet wanted to seek aid from her "uncle Cid", but knew her mother would not let her leave the castle alone. Her chance comes on her sixteenth birthday when the Tantalus Theater Troupe arrives in Alexandria to perform I Want to Be Your Canary.
Unbeknown to her, Cid has asked Tantalus to kidnap her. She goes along with the plan and joins with Tantalus as they escape Alexandria, but amid the escape, Steiner—the captain of the Knights of Pluto—and the black mage Vivi, are taken along with her. The Tantalus Theater Ship is damaged by a Bomb and they crash-land into the Evil Forest, Garnet being blown off the deck. Steiner cooperates with Zidane—a Tantalus member who quits the troupe to rescue Garnet—and Vivi to save Garnet from the forest's monsters.
After escaping the Evil Forest Garnet struggles to hide her identity as the princess of Alexandria. As a precautionary measure before entering the village of Dali, she adopts the alias of "Dagger", taking the name from Zidane's weapon. Upon entering the village Zidane tutors her in common speak, a task Garnet finds difficult, often addressing the townspeople in an overly formal manner. Zidane and Garnet stumble upon a secret underground factory while looking for Vivi and discover Alexandria is manufacturing black mages, living dolls that use powerful black magic, which greatly concerns Garnet.
The group hijacks the cargo ship delivering black mages to Alexandria, and while Zidane and the others battle Black Waltz 3, whom Queen Brahne had sent out to retrieve Garnet's royal pendant—really a fragment of a valuable summoning gem—Garnet takes the reins of the ship and steers it through the South Gate to Lindblum region.
Upon arriving in Lindblum Castle Garnet is eager to meet with her uncle, Regent Cid Fabool IX, insisting they discuss Queen Brahne's new ambitions, and it is discovered Cid has been transformed into an oglop by his wife Hildagarde Fabool in an act of anger when she left him. Zidane overhears Garnet singing "Melodies of Life" from atop the castle, but when he asks where she learned the song she cannot remember.
Even after it is learned Alexandria has invaded Burmecia with a black mage army, Cid refuses to take major action and orders Garnet to remain in Lindblum for her safety. Garnet resolves to confront her mother and poisons the food of everyone except for herself and Steiner with sleeping weed. They leave for the South Gate where Steiner hides Garnet in a burlap sack to avoid detection, and she uses the nauseous odor of Gysahl Pickles to discourage others from opening the bag.
At the summit station the pair meets a Tantalus member Marcus on a quest to cure Blank who was petrified along with the Evil Forest while helping Garnet, Zidane and the others to escape. Garnet feels responsible for what happened, and wants to help. They enter Treno together and infiltrate a scholar's mansion to find a Supersoft. The house turns out to be Doctor Tot's who is delighted to see Garnet again, and hands over the Supersoft willingly. He reveals they can return to Alexandria Castle via the Gargan Roo, an ancient underground passage.
They reach Alexandria, but Garnet is betrayed by Queen Brahne who orders the jesters Zorn and Thorn to extract her eidolons, powerful creatures of legend only the summoners can call forth into the world. The eidolons Odin, Atomos and Bahamut are later used by Brahne and her weapons dealer Kuja to decimate other kingdoms and steal parts of Alexander's summoning gem from the nations of the world.
Brahne orders Garnet killed when she no longer deems her useful, but she is rescued by Zidane's party with General Beatrix's aid. The party escapes Alexandria via the Gargan Roo, and Garnet is conflicted over her mother's untrustworthiness and the eidolons within herself of which she had been unaware of. When the party's Gargant crashes at Pinnacle Rocks Garnet meets the eidolon Ramuh. She casts aside her fear of the eidolons and Ramuh becomes the first eidolon she is likely to summon. The party decides to hunt down Kuja who is behind Brahne's manufacturing of black mages in Dali and incited the will in her to conquer Mist Continent.
On the Outer Continent the party ventures into Conde Petie where they discover only married couples may embark further toward the dwarves' "sanctuary", the Iifa Tree. Garnet and Zidane partake in a wedding ritual to gain passage to the Conde Petie Mountain Path. Garnet's roots in the summoning arts are explored when they meet Eiko Carol, the last survivor of the summoners' village, who leads them to the ruins of Madain Sari. Garnet discovers her true past and birthrights, and finds Eiko also knows the tune to "Melodies of Life". With Eiko's help they kill Soulcage at the bottom of the Iifa Tree and stop the flow of Mist back at Mist Continent, a malevolent substance that hardens the minds of people and makes flora and fauna turn into monsters like what happened to the Evil Forest.
Queen Brahne's attempts to dispatch Kuja, whom she no longer deems useful to her, with Bahamut. Her attempt backfires when Kuja takes control of the eidolon and leaves her for dead on the beach. Garnet comforts her adoptive mother while she dies on the shores of the Outer Continent apologizing for her deeds and asking Garnet for forgiveness. The party returns to Alexandria where Garnet is to become the new queen and to remain in the castle while her friends depart. Zidane becomes depressed as he had developed feelings for her.
The festivities surrounding her coronation are short-lived. Kuja returns to Alexandria with Bahamut who attacks the city. Garnet joins with Eiko to summon the eidolon Alexander, the protector of Alexandria, by bringing the fragments of its summoning gem together. Alexander defeats Bahamut, but a mysterious man Garland uses the airship Invincible to obliterate Alexander and much of Alexandria; the resulting shock renders Garnet mute as she is guilt-ridden for failing to protect her kingdom.
More determined than ever to hunt Kuja down, the party follows him to his home at Desert Palace, but Kuja escapes. They find Cid's estranged wife who returns to him and turns him back to normal and lends the party Cid's experimental airship that can fly without Mist: Hilda Garde I. Zidane finds Garnet in Alexandria, mourning at the grave of her adoptive mother. Garnet breaks her silence by telling Zidane she will fight for her kingdom. She takes Zidane's dagger and cuts off her ponytail, perhaps seeing this as a way of moving on with her life. Garnet resolves to carry on to pursue to Kuja with the others, and seeks to follow him to the alien planet of Terra where Kuja is said to hail from.
To open the path to Terra the party must activate four shrines and Garnet and Eiko venture to the shrine of water where Eiko hints that she knows Garnet has feelings for Zidane. After finding their way to Terra Garnet glimpses the Terran battleship Invincible and recovers some of her childhood memories from when the ship destroyed Madain Sari, passing out.
While the others stay to look after her, Zidane wanders off alone and becomes distraught over discovering his role as the pawn for the ruler of Terra, Garland. His friends follow his trail to Pandemonium where Garnet helps him come to his senses by reminding him that he is not alone and that he has friends who want to protect him as he has protected them. Together they decide to stop Garland and Kuja's evil plans.
Later, the party may return to the ruins of Madain Sari to read the message on the Eidolon Wall and discover Garnet's birth name.
After Kuja and Necron are defeated, Zidane returns to Kuja's body in the collapsing Iifa Tree and goes missing. Garnet returns to Alexandria alone to rule, but cannot forget Zidane. Sometime later, Tantalus comes to Alexandria to perform I Want to be Your Canary in honor of the queen. The actor supposed to be Marcus throws off his cloak at the play's climax, revealing himself to be Zidane. Garnet runs into the crowd, throws her crown aside, and leaps into Zidane's arms in tears. Garnet and Zidane embrace in front of the applauding spectators, and she asks him how he survived. Zidane responds he sang her song, but is corrected by Garnet saying that it's their song.
Dagger equips rods and magical rackets as weapons. She has access to two skillsets: Wht Mag and Summon. While her Wht Mag abilities are weaker at healing than Eiko, she can summon more powerful Eidolons such as Bahamut and Ark. Her Trance replaces "Summon" with "Eidolon", and causes her last summoned Eidolon to be summoned again after certain intervals. Her support abilities are often defensive boosts or general utility.
Additionally, Garnet appears as a boss when trapped inside Prison Cage. The player must defeat Prison Cage before her HP drops to zero, but can heal her with Potions to prevent this. As with other player characters, a mirror version of Garnet can also be fought.
Dagger is the only character, besides Zidane, who is controlled on the world map during a portion of the game. Garnet is the only permanent playable character who is not named by the player; the name later chosen by the player is only an alias.
"Garnet's Theme" first plays during her and Doctor Tot's flashback to her younger days. A variant of the theme plays when she cuts her hair. Additionally, the theme is interwoven into the main melody of "Melodies of Life", the theme of her romance with Zidane.
Garnet has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy Dimensions II as a signet summon.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Tetra Master as an opponent and cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Behind the scenes
Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted Final Fantasy IX to be different from its PlayStation-era predecessors, and return to "the action-movie-like fantasy" of the Nintendo era installments. He provided the plots and ideas for character designs at an early stage. In an early development memo, Sakaguchi wrote the opening of the game with Princess Garnet rushing past Zidane and "a thief" (Blank in the final game), and while the thief would have focused on Garnet's chest being slightly revealed in her formal dress, Zidane would take notice of the pendant she was wearing: "No, no, she was wearing the pendant of the summons permitted by only royalty. Deep blue stone... 'The Legend of Leviathan', was it Princess Garnet?"
Event Designer Kazuhiko Aoki, though not the person who made the scene where Garnet cuts her hair, thought it would be an important scene for the pacing of the game and character development, and thus had to convince the rest of the team it would be worth it to create two character models for her: one with long hair and another with short hair.
Though the development team referred to her as "Dagger", they later realized that players more commonly call her "Garnet".
Garnet's birthday is given as 15 January, and this is the day Alexandria celebrates by having Tantalus perform I Want to Be Your Canary. It is likely this is the original princess's birthday, but Sarah appeared to be around the same age as the original Princess Garnet.
According to the Dishmeister in Alexandria Castle kitchen, Garnet's favorite food is peach pudding.
Garnet and Eiko are the only characters with audible voices as they are heard singing in cutscenes.
Garnet appears on the cover of The Art of Final Fantasy IX. Dioramas by Banpresto were only available from claw machines in 2000. One of them depicts Zidane and Garnet in the scene atop the Lindblum Castle.
Garnet, Zidane and Vivi were released as Play Arts figures in 2009.
Garnet and Zidane were released as Bring Arts figurines in September 2019. She comes with Healing Rod and Tiger Racket, as well as two hair styles.
Garnet's true name is Sarah, in a series' tradition where princesses have that name. The name Sarah, (שָׂרָה in Hebrew) is the Hebrew name for "princess", or a woman of high rank.
"Alexandros" is the original Greek spelling (Ἀλέξανδρος) of the given name Alexander. The name means "Protector of Mankind".
Garnet's name was mistyped as "Princess Garnet Til Alexanderos 17th" on the now defunct PlayOnline section of the North American Squaresoft website.
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, p.012-013
- Height comparison chart from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, p.012-013
- From the old back up file (dead) (Accessed: March 30, 2012) at Mistwalker Corp (dead)